Monday, November 30, 2009

Winter Weekends

Saturday was the traditional HP family trip to the Jule tide purgatory that is Tivoli at Christmas. The weather was OK, but parking was a nightmare, it took a long time to get a space which turned out to be a private car park that neither we nor the other 30+ cars in there were allowed to use so we all got 510 kr (£55 or $100) tickets. There were millions of people so getting around was rather difficult and keep track of J even harder. Finally when the adults of the family went to see the Danish equivalent of a Christmas Pantomime, we took the kids to Wagamama to eat try and annoy everyone else in there. I think we succeeded.

The day wasn't a total flop, Tivoli was OK, the kids loved the grotto things and I had a great bike ride in the forest in the morning.

Mandy and Troels came over to see us for lunch yesterday and I took it as a good excuse to make a cottage pie that I have been craving since someone else keeps talking about them. That turned out really well, I think as a result of the added thyme and cooking time. I also whipped up a batch of mince pies whilst MK and J make some biscuits as well so there was plenty of fat and sugar to go around.

I realised when I went to bed lat night that the furthest I been from my bed that day was the end of the drive to collect the news paper. Thankfully I am embarking on the Time Crunched Training Plan tonight so that I can try to offload some of the mince pies.

Friday, November 27, 2009


The dynamic duo were back at the hospital yesterday for a progress check and they finally managed to get some useful information about DK's operation. He is now scheduled for 13th January which means that we can relax over Christmas and the new year with the exception of the daily bowel flushing. The second piece of news is that MK has been signed off until DK is 2 years old because he shouldn't start in day care until then. That means that MK will not be back at work before July 2010 and will then have 2 years worth of vacation to use up. Lucky her.

Tonight we are going to watch Father Christmas turn on the lights in Ringsted. He is supposed to be arriving by fire engine so we are all really excited about being there.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Reading myself into fitness

When mum arrived last week she was weighed down with a lot of gifts from the family and also some books that I had ordered for myself. One of these is the Chris Carmichael's Time Crunched Cyclist that I have been devouring almost as enthusiastically as I have done the chocolates that we ate last night.

Chris Carmichael is Lance Armstrong's personal coach (a fact that is pointed out to us on almost every page of the book) and has made a lot of money from his training business and many books that he has published. This is the first of his that I have read and so far I think it is pretty good. Instead of taking the training plans and techniques that work for professionals and those with about 15 hours a week to train and reducing the volume to a lower level, he has build a new system based on the principal that you only train 6-8 hours a week. This seems to be a really good idea and given that he accepts that there are drawbacks, I am optimistic that it will actually work.

You train in 11-12 week cycles with 4-6 weeks rest between them meaning that if I start next week, I should be able to improve my performance during the winter mountain bike races, have a breather for a month or so and then get into good shape again for the road racing season in April. In fact it is even better than that because I will be able to take another break in July when the races stop for a holiday month and then go again for the second half of the season through August and September.

Now all I have to do is the training.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Found 'em

After some searching, I have found the results of Sunday's race. I am racing in the mens category where I was 105 out of 206 and overall, that puts me 194 out of 402.

I could barely be any more middle of the pack. So what next? I am hoping to get into the top 1/3 by the end of the races although I suspect that will be tough...

There are also some photo that I happen to be in but none actually of me.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Waiting for the news

I was planning to write a report of my mountain bike race yesterday as my post today but I have been waiting for the results to be posted. So far nothing...

Friday was a very long day, I got up at 5:30, went to the airport and flew to Århus for the company team building day and Christmas party that went on late into the night. Saturday morning, I got up without too much of a hangover, but rather tired and went home again for a quiet afternoon and a nice meal chez T&B.

Yesterday the weather was crappy, but after making a great big pile of pancakes for breakfast, I loaded up the bike onto the car and set off for the forest north of Copenhagen for the second round of the Slush cup. This was the first actual race as the last round was a time trial to determine which start group you would be in when the racing began.

It was very wet and muddy but thankfully not too cold at around 10C so not really too unpleasant after you got used to the mud in your eyes and mouth. I started at the back of group 4 and managed to hold my place reasonably well during the race. I did 3 laps which took an hour and 15 minutes and felt like enough. My bike was totally blocked with mud by the end, it was getting heavier and the gears were starting to play up so I was happy to stop. Amazingly, the leading 3 or 4 riders managed to lap me in that time which was pretty humbling because I didn't think I was doing too badly!

I really enjoyed the race and am looking forward to the rest of the races although a couple of them are a long way from home on the north coast.

By the time I was home and the bike was cleaned it was pretty much time to get on with making dinner and that was the end of the day for me. When there are some results and pictures posted, I put some up here.

Christmas Presents

Just a note to those of you in the UK, if you receive a parcel from M&S in the next day or so, it contains Christmas presents from us so put it somewhere safe and open it on the 25th. Hopefully there is gift wrapping on the ones for the kids at least, but just to be safe...

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Good week, bad week

It seems that it was a good thing for me that DKs operation was cancelled because I am really busy at work this week. I have a project going live on Thursday next week that has been running since May and it is struggling to meet any deadlines. (Not my fault, I'm just the project manager!)

This morning I had planned to get up early and ride on the trainer in the basement before going to work. I set my alarm suitably early and then somehow managed to turn it off before I went to sleep. I suppose I'll have to ride tonight before bed now, becuase there is no way I'll be able to ride tomorrow and Saturday is a bit late considering that I have a race on Sunday here:

On another note, it is really nice to have someone visiting who can entertain the kids and do the ironing.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Lost Symbol

I don't write many book reviews these days, but I thought this book deserved one. It was poor. If you've read the Davinci Code then you can save yourself the bother of reading either this or Angels and Demons which are in essence the same story in slightly different circumstances.

This is set in Washington DC and the Masons replace the catholic church. There is a female companion, a shadowy figure and an old friend as in the Davinci Code and again a number of puzzles to solve in order to prevent something relatively unimportant from happening. Coupled with this is the writing style which is more like a screen play and the fact that none of the twists or turns is a surprise.

The book was a gift and it was a kind one, but it's not a good book.

Horizontal rain at the zoo

MK, DK, J and Grandma went to the zoo today. Apparently the horizontal rain began just after they bought the tickets and it hasn't eased up since...

I was lucky enough to have work to do so I was at home listening to the rain beating on the windows whilst the others were out experiencing it.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Temporary reprive

After all the rigmarole of flushing and blood tests over the last couple of days, we fell at the final hurdle when the anaesthetist gave us a red light for the operation because of DKs cold. Apparently the risk of breathing problems is too great when he has snot in his lungs and an ear infection.

We don't know when the operation will be re-scheduled but at least we can have some more fun with my mum now.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Not what I had planned

This weekend was not really what I had intended.

On Saturday morning MK headed off for the last time into town to try and encourage some people to vote for her tomorrow in the local elections. DK, J and I went into town a little later in the morning to offer some support and to pick up some shopping on the way home for lunch. By the time I got around to going out on my bike it was getting a little late and when I had a flat tyre after about 5km, I decided to cut the ride short and just do a local loop before heading home to take J for a ride as it was getting dark. We found J's lights and went for our usual trip over the bridge and back and to visit the hens whilst the chicken cooked in the oven.

Sunday ended up being similarly unproductive but rewarding. MK took the boys to handball in the morning whilst I relaxed a bit and made some pancakes for them to eat when they got home. Then J and I went swimming along with every other person within an hours drive of the pool. It was most unpleasantly busy for the first 30 minutes, but then most people went home for lunch and we had some more space. After lunch J and I made some fairy cakes to get in practice for Grandma's visit this week before I made started work on a toad in the hole for tea.

It was nice to do some stuff with the kids, this is going to be a stressful week and I think the bike riding can wait until it is over and we can breath a little more easily.

This morning I dropped the original dynamic duo off at the hospital, apparently they have to talk to a doctor and have some blood tests today but should be home with us tonight...

Saturday, November 14, 2009


I just want to state that I don't delete comments from this blog. If you think you've left a comment then you should check that you can see it.

It's a bit like bleeding a radiator. Best to check twice that you've closed the valve...

Friday, November 13, 2009

Expensive medical treatment

Flushing DKs bowels is getting expensive.

Last week I ruined a T shirt by splashing bleach on it whilst cleaning up after then event. I didn't mind too much because it was only £2 in M&S.

This evening I demonstrated that an idiot doesn't learn from his mistakes by doing the same to a new long sleeved top that hasn't even been in the washing machine yet. I can't get another because I bought it in France.

As I think I said yesterday about something else - Bollocks

Thursday, November 12, 2009


When we had the floor refinished in the living room in the summer I had to take the stereo out along with all of the other stuff. I hadn't gotten around to re-connecting it until Sunday and to be honest I was enjoying the lack of children's songs and the wireless look of the whole set up. However, at the weekend MK finally got me to reconnect everything. It worked when I tested it although I did notice that the bottom shelf seemed a bit wobbly although I couldn't get the shelf out of the bracket to tighten it up so I simply moved the stereo up one shelf.

When I got home last night MK complained that only one of the speakers was working so I had to have another fiddle to reconnect a speaker wire that had come out of the connector. Whilst fiddling with the cable the shelf fell off the wall onto the now empty shelf below which promptly fell onto the floor.


Thankfully nothing landed on my bare feet because that would have really hurt, but our rather expensive cd player, amplifier and a speaker were sitting on the floor.

The damage:
The cd player no longer recognises that it has discs in it. I suspect that is terminal...
Amp - no problems
Speaker - 2 of the 4 pegs that hold the cover on have broken off, but it works fine so I may just remove the covers from both.

At least we can still play music from my ipod that has all of our cds on it, except for the kids one for now. Sort of a result...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Cracking on

This is going to be a busy week. I have meetings this afternoon and tomorrow I have to spend 5 hours driving to and from Viborg for more meetings. I will be pretty tired by the end of the week.

I managed to get myself out of bed with a gentle kick from MK this morning and into the basement for some turbo training on my bike. It wasn't that bad once I had started but I really hate getting out of bed before I REALLY have to. I am working from home on Friday and promise myself to take an hour or so out at lunchtime to get some fresh air out on the bike at last. In the meantime, it's back to work...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

An itch that needs scratching

I haven't been on a normal bike ride since last Tuesday and I am getting really fidgety about it. Last night I did my core strength exercises and took it easy after the race on Sunday although to be honest, I don't think I needed or deserved to do so. Tonight I will ride somehow and I hope to do so again tomorrow becuase there is no way that I can ride on Thursday as I will be in Viborg for a meeting meaning an early start and late home.

In the post yesterday I got my new cycling hat. It is 100% merino wool and it seems really nice. a good fit that comes down over my ears and it doesn't see itchy. The only problem is that J seems to like it even more than I do so I think I may have trouble keeping hold of it...

Monday, November 09, 2009

What a tool

This is NOT me, but I did see a few face plants whilst I was there.

The race went well, I didn't fall off, my bike didn't break and I think I did a reasonable time of about 56 minutes.
"About 56 minutes?" I hear you all ask.
"Surely you should know exactly what your time was because you had an electronic timing chip attached to your bike according to the instructions on the Slush Cup homepage. This should record your time precisely"
"Ah yes." I may reply, "what was that about instructions for attaching the chip to your bike? Is it really important to have that plastic thing under the chip?"
Yes apparently it was so I didn't get any times registered for my 3 laps and as a consequence, I will have to start at the back for the first race. I hope I do well enough to move up through the field for the races that follow, but I must admit I was a little disappointed*.
*I was only disappointed that I didn't get the time after all the effort I put in to not have to start at the back for the races. I should have come somewhere between 210 and 225 out of 320 starters so I wasn't exactly setting the field on fire!

Friday, November 06, 2009

Doing the right thing

I just spent 10 minutes downstairs in the basement trying on all of the winter cycling clothing and came to the conclusion that I have plenty of stuff. At the end of the winter I will look out for something on sale to replace the very old jacket that I use when it is really cold, but in the meantime, I need to spend more time riding my bike and less time thinking about how to spend money on cycling accessories.

I suspect MK will agree whole heartedly

Have a good weekend and I hope there will be a report from my mountain bike race on Monday.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Cold and damp

The Autumn is showing signs of turning into Winter pretty darned soon over here. Most of the leaves are now off the trees and it is getting colder. I think I'll even have to put the winter tyres on the car before too long. Yesterday was a really wet, grey affair with little to celebrate meteorologically speaking.

A consequence of this cold damp weather is that my bike rides are also getting cold and damp. In the Spring I bought and Assos Element One jersey like this below to keep me warm when the winter came around again. I got a really good price on sale and got it delivered to Boulder.
Unfortunately, it is simply not warm enough now that the temperature is in single figures so I am having to use a few other things instead or as well. The main problem is that the windproof jacket I have as not really breathable enough so I get rather damp inside it and then rather cold as the ride wears on.
I think the solution is an Assos 851 jacket like the ones below. These are limited edition colours and I am rather drawn to the orange for some reason. There is a problem though - the price. I have been selling odds and ends on eBay in the hope of getting enough together to buy one without upsetting MK, but I don't think I've made enough especially with the other purchases that I've made on eBay whilst waiting for my things to sell...

For the time being I am sure I'll survive, but I am still looking for the solution and hopefully it will be rather less expensive than one of these...

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Lots going on

Yesterday MK and DK were detained in the hospital in CPH for the whole day because there seemed to be some problems with his bowel that was stopping the doctors getting a tube up there to flush him out. In the end it turned out to be just an incompetent nurse, but it had us worried that MK and DK wouldn't be able to go to Manchester today for another appointment.

I have just heard that DKs feet are fabulous and the dynamic duo are off to do the shops in Manchester for the remainder of the afternoon before flying home again later this evening. It will have been a long day for them both.

J and I are going to have a boys evening. Maybe going for a short bike ride in the dark if the rain ever stops and probably eating some pizza at some point.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Slush Cup

This isn't me and I don't think it is GBN either...

I have entered a series of mountain bike races taking place over the winter called the Slush Cup. I think I may be rather stupid to expect anything other than mud, cold feet, a wet arse and numb extremities...

The first race is a time trial this weekend. We will be racing against the clock to see who starts in which group for the first proper race in a couple of weeks. The idea is to minimise the inevitable chaos of having 400 people start a race at the same time by putting the fast guys at the front and the slow ones at the back. I am hoping to be somewhere in the middle, but I suppose I'll just have to wait and see how it goes...

There are 7 races in total, each one lasting 1 hour plus one lap so a maximum of about 1 hour 20 minutes per race. The last race is at the end of February in Sorø with the others spaced neatly through the rest of the long, cold, wet, dark winter. MK is planning on coming along with the boys for the first one, we'll have to wait and see if that is enough spectating for them.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Glad that only happens once a year...

J's birthday is over and we are all exhausted.

On Friday we had guests for birthday cake and coffee in the afternoon ( I was at work for some of this) then MKs family stayed for my home made pizza that was thankfully successful.

On Saturday the mothers group came to visit (meaning 2 mothers and 4 extra kids) MK make some bread rolls and cake type things for them and I went out on my bike for a couple of hours.

Sunday was the turn of J's friends from Nursery. In the end, Simon couldn't make it so there was just Augusta and Esta (?). I made some fairy cakes in the morning and MK we ate the remaining bread rolls.

By the end of the day yesterday we just had enough energy to watch Ironman on DVD which was actually rather good.
Thanks to everyone who gave present to J. He is really happy with all of the gifts that he received.